A church is a living organism. It's natural for an organism to grow. And it's natural for a church to grow. When a church is not growing it is quite likely that something is wrong. In the United States a healthy church will see between 5 - 12% growth in worship attendance each year.
There are a number of indicators that could be used to evaluate whether or not a church is healthy. One could analyze the budget. The number of visitors, and visitors who stay, in a church might be a good indicator. How many members read the Bible and have regular devotions could qualify. Perhaps the dollars and hours spent in local community service projects. Or the number of corporate hours in prayer could be measured. Healthy churches usually have a network of small groups with a large percentage of members involved. They have adequate and qualified staff. The number of conversions per year in a church could (and should) be measured. And there are more. So, what is the key indicator of a healthy church? After years of study, it is my contention that the indicator of a church's health is its worship attendance growth rate. A negative rate normally means the church has one or more problems. A positive growth rate indicates that, for the moment, ministry and mission are likely going well. Of course, there will be exceptions in either case. But rules are generalizations of what is the case far more often than not. In general, I suggest the following table of growth rates to be an indicator of health in a local church, a regional, and a national denomination body.
- Poor Growth: 2% per year
- Fair Growth: 3 - 5% per year
- Good Growth: 6 - 8% per year
- Excellent Growth: 9 - 11% per year
- Outstanding Growth: 12 - 15% per year
- Incredible Growth: 16 - 20% per year